You may have noticed there’s a lot of brown butter happening around these parts lately. Let’s talk about that.
I don’t believe I’ve mentioned how busy work has been lately. It’s been the kind of busy where it’s GOGOGOGOGO all the time. I know everything ebbs and flows, so I realize it will pass and the craziness will subside, but until then I must rely on my favorite form of after-work therapy: pumpkin candles, Billie Holiday Pandora, and baking.
Fortunately (I think?), this stressful work time coincides with cookbook writing (!!!), so I have a reason to spend many after-work evenings decompressing in my kitchen. I used to do all of my blog baking on the weekends, but now when those crazy work days happen I can actually say things like, “I can’t [insert social obligation] tonight because I have to work,” instead of, “I can’t [insert social obligation] tonight because the introvert in me needs to reset my stress clock by staring at butter bubbling on the stove until it browns.” #notcrazy
To summarize, this blog’s content will likely veer more towards baking over the next few months. That’s not to say there won’t be main dishes popping up every now and then, but making sweet things is my go-to “let’s calm the eff down” activity, so calm the eff down I will.
Take this granola, for instance, which isn’t entirely naughty, but definitely tastes a bit indulgent. Crunchy baked oats, sweetly-spiced pumpkin and rich maple goodness, along with some caramel brown butter flavor because, well…you know.
I’ve bought pumpkin butter in previous years, propelled by an extreme amount of autumn excitement, only to find I had no idea what to do with it. A few tablespoons would end up on toast and in oatmeal, but after that it would sit in the back of my fridge, forgotten and eventually rancid.
Last weekend The Beast and I went on a “birthiversary” (his birthday, our almost anniversary) trip to southern Minnesota, and on Saturday we traveled across the border to an adorable orchard in the bluffs of Wisconsin. After tasting some hard cider and apple wine, we perused the goods for sale. My eyes went directly to a jar of orchard-made pumpkin butter, and I was sold. Maybe I didn’t know what to make with it, but I was at an orchard, the air was crisp, and I was wearing fleece, so gosh darn it I needed it.
A couple weeks ago I tried to make a granola with pumpkin puree, and the result was wet, somewhat bland and too soft (gross…). Instead of using puree in this version, I decided to put my pumpkin butter to good use. The outcome is sweet, spicy, crunchy, and wonderfully fall flavored. It’s easy, fast, and sooooo much better than store-bought granola. Seriously don’t even mess with that expensive stuff. Who needs it? Not you.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoon-sized pieces
- ½ cup pumpkin butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free, if desired)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter over low-medium heat, whisking constantly. Once you see brown specks appear on the bottom, remove from the heat and continue whisking for 30 seconds. Pour into another bowl so that the butter doesn't continue to cook (which could result in burning).
- Add the pumpkin butter, maple syrup, and vanilla to the butter, and whisk until combined.
- Pour in the oats, spices, and pecans. Stir until the oats are evenly coated with the pumpkin and brown butter mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to a greased/parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, taking it out to stir 3 times so that the granola bakes evenly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.